Meet the winners from the 2015 Young Designers’ Contest

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Hong Kong Fashion Week has just come to an end and the results from the Young Designers’ Contest are out. Arthur Tam introduces this year’s big winners

Every year, during Hong Kong Fashion Week, there’s one event that we pay particular attention to – the Young Designers’ Contest. This competition at the turn of the year features the city’s youngest and brightest emerging designers and offers a peek into Hong Kong’s ever-evolving fashion design scene. This year, 16 aspiring hopefuls went head-to-head with their ideas and designs. And each one of them caught the eyes of the judges. “There was a high level of talent, craftsmanship and creativity at this year’s event,” says judge and H&M creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch, from Sweden.

The final competition took place on January 20 and the four winners clearly stood out from the pack: Tsang Fan-yu won the Best Accessories Design Award, Necro Poon scooped the Contemporary Daywear Group Award, Kevin Ho was champ in the Party and Eveningwear Group Award and Michelle Yeung was the Overall Winner. Yeung took home the grand prize of $35,000 and a one-month internship at H&M’s headquarters in Sweden. “If you look at her outfits closely you will notice she has great techniques and everything down to her bags are handmade personally,” says judge, fashion stylist and contributing fashion editor at Vogue China, Grace Lam. “I feel she has pushed the design limit to show a glamorous but not old-fashioned way of presenting eveningwear. I couldn’t bear to see another bridal-style gown! Her collection is for daring, modern and fun women. On top of that, it looks wicked on stage. Overall, the level of craftsmanship from the finalists improved tremendously and they are more mature in the way they think about concepts and materials.”

In case you missed the show, Time Out talks to each of the winners about their inspirations while we showcase their show-stopping designs…

Michelle Yeung
Inside the Caves

It’s clear that Yeung spent quite some time conceptualising and executing her striking collection. Nine months to be exact, she tells us. She pays meticulous attention to her statement pieces that feature hundreds of hand-stitched beads that form together like white crystal rock candy – the connective thread throughout her edgy fairytale collection. “I saw a lot of crystal displays in a variety of different forms at a museum exhibition during a trip to New York,” says the 23-year-old. “They acted as a catalyst for my collection.” We particularly like Yeung’s crystal crop top piece matched with a variegated reindeer skirt. As soon as it hits the catwalk it exudes an elegant ease, which is elevated by tasteful proportions and detailing. So is Yeung set to take on the fashion world? Not yet, she says. Before going at it solo, the young designer believes she needs more business savvy first. “I don’t think being creative is enough,” she says. “The next step for me is really learning about the business side of fashion.” If you’re interested in Yeung’s designs, email her at michelleyeung29@gmail.com.

Kevin Ho
The Crossing

Geometry and structure are the keywords for Ho’s powerful collection, which is aimed at the not-so-wallflower woman. The interlocking hand-sewn grosgrain ribbon strips on his crimson organza dresses are a mesmerising display of impeccable craftsmanship. “It takes about a week to complete one of the pieces,” says the London College of Fashion graduate. Our favourite is the electric blue ribbon dress. The pattern and lines make for an eye-catching party statement. The 26-year-old states that his favourite designer is the boundary-pushing Iris Van Herpen. “I like her because she’s always pushing the limit in an artistic way,” he says. A clear message that’s reflected in Ho’s collection. Email Ho at kwanlam_ho@hotmail.com.

Necro Poon
Self-salvation Oath

The message behind Necro Poon’s collection probably resonates most with Hongkongers. “My inspiration came from civil disobedience, social movements and protests around the world,” says Poon. “The print on some of the pieces came from images that I took during the July 1 protests.” There couldn’t be a more timely inspiration and the 27-year-old goes a bit further with slogans like ‘strike back’ in his collection of finely tailored pop-art suits, leather bomber jackets and tailored-down jackets. Our favourite look is the grey graphic print suit paired with a bomber jacket, which has edge and refinement all mixed into one. If you’re interested in Poon’s designs email him at necro0079@yahoo.com.hk.

Tsang Fan-yu
Yon

Tsang brought a bit of samurai showdown skills with his traditional Japanese-inspired street chic menswear collection. A student at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, he actually won the first-ever Best Accessory Design Award at the YDC. His double-quilted backpack, white Velcro-strapped sneakers and long seatbelt-like waist belt impressed the judges. The collection’s theme adhered the old Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi – the beauty of imperfection – which Tsang interpreted as subtle detailing in his loose fitting, hip-hop kimono clothing. “I’m still looking for my direction,” says the 24-year-old. “I’m still trying to develop my collection to be something that’s myself but still has a commercial appeal. I’m going back to the drawing board now to see how I can improve my aesthetic.” As far we can see, Tsang is on trend with the direction of current sportswear, so he might not be too far from his desired goal. Get hold of Tsang by emailing fanyutsang@yahoo.com.hk.

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